On a memorable night in the metro area, No. 1 prevailed and Rio Grande ended a four-year losing streak.
While Dorian Lewis ran like a fiend Thursday night, consigning the Eldorado Eagles to mostly helpless spectators at Wilson Stadium in a matchup of Class 6A’s No. 1 and No. 2-ranked prep football teams. Meanwhile, the Ravens finally snapped a 39-game skid that dates back to 2014, beating Valencia.
CLEVELAND 42, ELDORADO 28: Lewis transferred from El Paso Andress in the offseason. And he dazzled and amazed on this night, to the tune of 384 yards on 38 carries, with five touchdowns as the Storm led from start to finish.
“It feels like home,” said Lewis. “I wish I could have been here all three years.”
A family situation brought Lewis north, he said. Top-ranked Cleveland (3-0) overcame a broken-down bus on the ride into Albuquerque, and some players and coaches had to catch a ride to the stadium on the cheerleaders’ bus. The start of the game also was delayed 35 minutes because of lightning.
But once it began, it was all Lewis, all the time. He scored on a 35-yard run 90 seconds into the game, and added scoring runs of 17, 6, 9 and 1 yards along the way behind an offensive line that simply dominated Eldorado.
“When I heard he was coming, I watched the Hudl film on him, and we knew we had something special walking in the door,” Cleveland coach Heath Ridenour said.
His team scored 14 points in the first four minutes, and Eldorado (2-1) never caught up. The Eagles were hamstrung by brutal mistakes, whether they were dropped touchdown passes, muffed punts, penalties, missed red zone opportunities or turnovers.
“They were a better team tonight,” Eagles coach Charlie Dotson said. “It didn’t matter if we made those plays.”
That may not be entirely true, but Cleveland’s offense — which, to be fair, was one-dimensional, but what a dimension to have — had a much cleaner sheet, sparked by Lewis.
“He had a performance like Gabe (Smith, Eldorado’s quarterback) had last week,” Dotson said, a nod to Smith’s nine-TD effort against Las Cruces. “He’s an unbelievable back.”
Eldorado was trailing 35-28 with seven minutes to go, and was getting the ball back. But the Eagles muffed the punt, the Storm recovered, and Lewis added the insurance TD with 5:21 left.
Unofficially, Smith finished with 20 carries for 183 rushing yards, after running for 310 last week. He ran for two scores and threw for two others, but he also committed a pair of very costly turnovers, one that led to a Storm touchdown and the other which may have cost Eldorado six points.
CLEVELAND 42, ELDORADO 28
Cleveland 14 7 7 14 — 42
Eldorado 0 7 14 7 — 28
Scoring: C, Dorian Lewis 35 run (William Gebhardt kick); C, Randy Nieto 41 run (Gebhardt kick); E, Gabe Smith 6 run (Broderick Dickman kick); C, Lewis 17 run (Gebhardt kick); E, Zack Hofman 13 pass from Smith (Dickman kick); C, Lewis 68 run (Gebhardt kick); E, Smith 6 run (Dickman kick); C, Lewis 9 run (Gebhardt kick); E, Trey Duran 35 pass from Smith (Dickman kick); C, Lewis 1 run (Gebhardt kick). Records: C 3-0; E 2-1.
First downs: C 23; E 23. Rushes-yards: C 59-486; E 43-269. Passing: C 4-12-0—39; E 11-26-1—213. Total offense: C 525; E 482. Punts-avg.: C 4-41.8; E 2-46.5. Fumbles-lost: C 3-1; E 4-2. Penalties-yards: C 9-92; E 4-50.
RIO GRANDE 38, VALENCIA 22: At Milne Stadium, tailback Hans Mulabay was well over 100 yards rushing with three touchdowns as Rio Grande (1-2) beat the Jaguars (2-1) and won for the first time since early September of 2014 against Highland.
“It’s very satisfying for the South Valley community,” Ravens coach Dennis Minidis said. “Our kids played very well, and they played with poise, and they learned how to finish a football game tonight.”
Rio Grande had nearly ended the streak in the opener against Highland, but squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“I found out one thing — ice Gatorade is very cold,” Minidis said. “It was very jubilant. We were so glad to get it over with.”